What is the file structure of a computer? Definition

Does every user ask a question: the structure of the computer (FS)? Such machines are in almost every large company, not to mention ordinary consumers. Today, every third or even second family definitely has such a technique, and not even in one copy.

What is the computer file structure

Perhaps the younger generation can guess what is actually being said. But older people, whose youth was held in the environment of other technology, may not know. Meanwhile, they began to show interest in computers.

File definition

The operation of any computer is controlled by the operating system, without which it is impossible to use it for its intended purpose. To understand what constitutes a file system, it is necessary to grasp the essence of another term - a file. From English, the word file is translated as "folder" and means a named data area of ​​a disk or any other storage medium. You can also give this definition of a file: it is a sequence of a certain number of bytes, and its length is arbitrary.

How to understand the file structure of a personal computer most adequately, and what data are we talking about? Usually any stored or processed information is:

  • electronic documents;
  • Images;
  • software;
  • musical compositions;
  • video content and more.

However, all this information must somehow be streamlined, which is done for convenience in relation to the user. But this applies not only to files. For example, we all store shoes separately from clothes. The same applies to products, because no one keeps shoes near them ?! Therefore, we resort to two proven methods:

  • sorting;
  • grouping.

As for the files, there is used 2 way. For which the operating system is responsible. But it works through the file system or structure.

What is meant by the file system?

In essence, the file system is part of the operating system. Thanks to it, it is possible to conduct various operations with digital information: give names to files or change their name, as well as delete them, move and perform other actions. This is precisely the essence of what the computer's file structure is.You will find the answer to this question below.

What is the computer file structure response

Sometimes, due to some kind of software failure, information may be lost, and then this resource allows you to restore it. Simply put, the file structure or rather the system acts as the main tool for working with digital data.

For the grouping of files are created so-called directories, which are simply referred to as folders. It is a kind of containers, inside of which is stored all the stored information and other directories. They are created by the file system itself.

If you need to do some action on the file (open, move, and so on), then the operating system refers just to the file system. It is the latter that produces the necessary manipulations. Now you can create a more understandable definition of the file system. This is the organizational process of storing data in any medium.

However, when buying a new hard disk, you cannot immediately write down any information on it. The fact is that there is no structure of the computer file system there, it is created only after the formatting process.By the way, if there are already files on the media, then this procedure removes everything completely, so you need to be careful.

FS functionality

The file system performs several useful functions:

  • It can determine the location of the file, as well as its name, format, size and parameters.
  • Determination of information storage on the media.
  • Storage of service information (defective areas of the disk).
  • Determine the number of files in the directory.
  • Specifies the maximum length for file and directory names.
  • Organization of system resilience to probable power failures, as well as hardware and software errors.
  • Determine the security of data storage and the implementation of quick access to them.

And since for the storage of information mainly hard disks are used, the organizational order is determined precisely in relation to their sections (volumes).


The file structure of the computer has a tree view. An attentive user may notice that all stored information on a computer, namely on a hard disk, resembles a hierarchical structure.

What is the computer file structure definition?

That is, there may be another inside one directory, within which, in turn, another one and so on.All this allows you to organize work order, and users know what and where is located.

Those directories that are located inside others are essentially the same folders that you can also assign names to. Only they do not write the last three (or more) letters. This is usually characteristic of files, and this extension of the name determines their type. The folder also contains data of different types, and therefore there is no need to expand its name.

Of course, no one will ban it, but there will be no point here. In addition, the folder with the exe value, for example, "Movies.exe" in most cases indicates the presence of a virus - in this case it is not recommended to open it.

File Attributes

To facilitate the work with the file structure of a personal computer, special parameters are provided, called attributes. That is, these are provisions that define the rules for viewing or editing data. Depending on this, there are 4 types of basic attributes:

  • Read only - read only (R).
  • System - system (S).
  • Hidden - hidden (H).
  • Archive - archive (A).

ParameterR- its meaning can be understood from its Russian name.That is, this refers to the editing mode: if the file has such an attribute activated, then attempts to change it will not succeed. Also it can not be destroyed. Therefore, this parameter is relevant for local area networks, where most users within this network have access to data.

AttributeSindicates that the files belong to the operating system, and their presence is necessary for stable operation. In this regard, when trying to delete or move such data (which is undesirable), the system will ask the question whether the user really wants to perform the operation. However, some viruses are able to mask themselves in such a way that badly affects the file structure for storing information in a computer.

The file structure of the computer is

ParameterHwhen activated, hides files in appearance. This is true for the most important system data that can be deleted accidentally.

AttributeAindicates that the file is compressed.

File System Varieties

There are several types of file systems between which an ordinary user will not find visible differences. Meanwhile, each species has its own characteristics. File systems are divided by purpose:

  • for hard drives;
  • for magnetic media;
  • for optical media;
  • for the virtual environment;
  • networked.

The most common are the following file systems:

  • EFS.
  • UDF.
  • EXFAT.
  • EXT.
  • FAT.
  • NTFS.

Among them are those that are already outdated, while others are still in use. In addition, each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is worth considering them in a little more detail.


Completely sounds like this: Encrypting File System. This file structure of the operating system of a personal computer is most preferable due to the fact that all data is encrypted. Because of this, this type is widely distributed and works with the operating systems of the entire family of Windows.

Encryption is simple. To do this, go to the file properties, click on the "Other" button, find the item "Encrypt content to protect data" and put a tick next to it. After that, click "Mark" and "OK." In addition, you can specify who is allowed to access the encrypted file.

Universal Disk Format or UDF

This file system is intended for storage media, in particular optical discs. Supported by Windows XP and above. It has its own characteristics: the length of the file name does not exceed 255 characters (ASCII-encoding) or 127 (Unicode-encoding).

Computer file system structure

As for the register, it can be both lower and upper. The maximum path length is 1023 characters.


What is the file structure of a computer EXFAT? It is mainly used for portable data storage devices (flash drives). It is a kind of intermediary between Windows and Linux, which is responsible for converting files from one system to another. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can format drives using a standard tool.


This file system was developed specifically for those operating systems that are based on the Linux kernel. The first designs were presented to the users in 1992. To date, there are already several versions:

  • ext;
  • ext2;
  • ext3;
  • ext3cow;
  • ext4.

The latter system is the most advanced and new, and therefore relevant. Modern Linux distros are using ext4. To understand what a computer's file structure is, you can use the example of other, more well-known systems, which will be discussed below.


Now it was the turn for recognizable systems, including FAT. The system was created at the end of the last century, and Bill Gates and Mark MacDonald are responsible for its development. Due to its simplicity, it is used in many flash drives at the present time.

There are several varieties of it:

  • FAT12.
  • FAT16.
  • FAT32.

Between themselves, they differ in bit depth, that is, in the number of bits that are allocated for storing one cluster. Accordingly, the higher the bit depth, the more volume can be supported by the FAT system. The very first version of it supported a small amount of data by modern standards - only 2 GB. Accordingly, it is not suitable for partitions or disks with large volume, and therefore it is quickly outdated.

File structure of the personal computer

With respect to FAT32, it is already about 127 gigabytes, what is its maximum size for a disk. And now, in most cases, it is used.


What is the file structure of an NTFS computer? This is the most popular system for today, which Microsoft began developing, known to us from the Windows operating system series. Its main quality lies in the fact that in the event of an operating system failure, all data will be saved, since such a variant is able to self-repair.

There is also another feature - its structure is presented in the form of a specific table. The first 16 data in the registry is the file system itself.Each byte is also a kind of table, which contains a mirror file with the MFT extension, as well as registration data that will be needed in case of recovery of information. In addition to them, there is also information regarding the file itself with its data, which was saved on the hard disk.

For the first time the NTFS system was introduced in 1993 simultaneously with the release of Windows NT 3.1. If you compare with another type - FAT, then you can find a considerable number of improvements. For example, now there are almost no restrictions on the size of the hard disk or its partitions. Some useful features have also become supported: hard links, encryption, compression.


Now, knowing the definition of what the computer's file structure is, any user will be able to choose for himself the suitable option that will suit him more. Each of the described systems has its own characteristics, which determined the further fate for some of them.

The file structure of the PC operating system is the most

Some are no longer used. This is mainly due to the fact that the amount of data is constantly increasing. And if earlier 80-100 GB were completely enough, now it is a scanty amount.Now the account is already on terabytes.

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